September 18, 2007

Every Second Counts

Some good quotes from Lance Armstrong's Every Second Counts
You ask yourself: now that I know I'm going to die, what will I do? What's the highest and best use of my self?

Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.

I've often said cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me. But everybody wants to know what I mean by that: how could a life-threatening disease be a good thing? I say it because my illness was also my antidote: it cured me of laziness.

But fame, I learned, is an isotope, and it's not good fir you. When you become celebrated, a kind of unhealthy radioactive decay forms around you, and the decay can be creeping, or even catastrophic.

J Craig Ventner (who developed human genome): Fame is an intrinsic negative. People respond to you based on their preconceived notion of you, and that puts you at a continual disadvantage.

I like to control things, like to win things, like to take things to the limit. A life spent defensively, worried, is to me a life wasted.

Lee Walker (Former Dell President): Schedule is how we make our intentions manifest in the world.

Mary Oliver (Poet): What will you do with your wild and precious self?

The world is full of people who are trying to purchase self-confidence, or manufacture it, or who simply posture it. But you can't fake confidence, you have to earn it, and if you ask me, the only way to do that is work. You have to do the work.

There comes a time in every race when a competitor meets the real opponent, and understands that it's himself.

Suffering is essential to a good life. It's a great enhancer. It might last a minute, or a month, but eventually it subsides, and when it does, something else takes place, and maybe that thing is a greater space. For happiness! Each time I encountered suffering, I believed that I grew, and further defined my capacities - not just my physical ones, but my interiors ones as well, for contentment, friendship, or any other human experience.

If you are willing to examine failure, and to look not just at your outward physical performance, but your internal working, too, losing can be valuable. How you behave in those moments can perhaps be more self-defining than wining could ever be. Sometimes losing shows you for who you really are.

J Craig Ventner (who developed human genome): It's unequivocally clear that life begins at birth and ends at death and if most people on this planet understood that, they would lead their lives very differently. We find religious or mysterious forces to fill in our inadequacies, but heaven and hell are both here on earth everyday, and we make our lives around them.

If you want to win something, you've got to have single mindedness and its all too easy to wind up lonesome while you're at it.

There aren't many clearly marked, signpost moments in your life, but occasionally they come along. And you have a choice. You can either do something the same old way, or you can make a better decision. If you are willing to make a harder choice, you can redesign your life.

If you want to do something great, you need a strong will and attention to detail. If you surveyed all the greatly successful people in this world, you will find a common denominator: they are all capable of sustained, focused attention.
A far more difficult test of endurance than a bike race is how you handle the smaller, common circumstances of your days, the more mundane difficulty of trying to make your life work.

People warn you that marriage is hard work, but you don't listen. You talk about the pretty bridesmaids' dresses, but you don’t talk what happened next; about how difficult it will be to stay, or to rebuild. What nobody tells you is that there will be more than just some hard days. There will be some hard weeks and perhaps even some hard years.

I've known guys who never quite put it all on the line, and you know what? They lost. One minute, after nearly a month of suffering, can decide who wins. Is it worth it? It depends on whether you want to win. I have the will to suffer. I do have that.

The experience of suffering is like the experience of exploring, of finding something unexpected and revelatory. When you find the outermost thresholds of pain, or fear, or uncertainty, what you experience afterwards is an expansive feeling, a widening of your capabilities.

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